Fi­nal buzzer for 14-year Old South street hockey rit­ual

The London Free Press - - LOCAL - ME­GAN STACEY

For­get Christ­mas cook­ies and open houses — one Lon­don neigh­bour­hood has been cel­e­brat­ing the hol­i­day sea­son by clear­ing a road and bust­ing out the hockey sticks.

But it’s an an­nual street hockey tra­di­tion on Devon­shire Av­enue in Wort­ley Vil­lage that’s com­ing to a close af­ter 14 years.

“We have a lot of fun,” said Dianne Arnold, who lives on Devon­shire and or­ga­nizes the games. “It’s a fun neigh­bour­hood tra­di­tion.”

She has group pho­tos — happy hockey play­ers gath­ered on a front lawn — from all 13 of the pre­vi­ous tour­na­ments.

Dozens of friends gather for the an­nual face­off, she said. There’s a sep­a­rate game for the kids — so they don’t get “pum­melled” by en­thu­si­as­tic adult play­ers, Arnold says — then the big kids take over.

“They do get kind of in­tense,” she ad­mit­ted with a chuckle.

The an­nual bat­tle started as a me­mo­rial for a neigh­bour who died of cancer. “He was a big hockey fan, his three boys are big hockey fans; they used to play hockey on the street,” Arnold said.

But now his fam­ily has moved to a new street. And Arnold said the com­mu­nity thought it was time to wrap up the street hockey tour­na­ment on Satur­day.

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